Since I have already a couple of years sporadic blog writing behind me as a contributor at Ca Fleure Bon and as a guest writer for Ines at All I am – a Redhead where I was fortunate enough to tread my blogger-baby steps, I will, at least for now, skip further introduction or even the explanations and without further ado, get on with it; a warm welcome to my first post on The Sounds of Scent.
I have missed writing, but being between flats, living out of suitcases, moving out, in or around and redecorating have taken up a lot of time. There are fun things about moving too though; for instance how you rediscover things which you have managed to pack away for so long you truly had no idea of their existence. And so, in a box full of useless old things, stocked away in a Copenhagen basement, and before that in a loft somewhere in south London since its move from Germany, imagine my delight at finding a nearly full bottle of Issey Miyake’s Le Feu d’Issey*. I have no idea when or why I packed it away; I can even no longer remember when I got it, but the sight of the bottle and the quick spray brought back memories.
Of all the fragrances I ever owned, Le Feu d’Issey was perhaps the closest I ever came to having a signature scent. That was back when it was a new scent in the late ‘90s and early 2000, as it went with me through Music College. I wore it so often I get phantosmia just thinking of that red- orange crazy plastic ball. I am not sure anymore if I simply had enough of it one day, or if it was actually the unavailability that made me stop wearing ‘Issey’s Fire’, but little by little it drifted out of my sight and thoughts, and it wasn’t until much later, aware of its increasing rareness, that I tried to hunt down a bottle for nostalgic reasons.
Almost impossible to describe to the uninitiated, I’ll have a go at it none the less. The green juiciness of bergamot and coriander combined with anise/ wormwood are a punch of an opening.
I keep getting this absinthe-imagery; the green liquor which changes into a milky opalescence, by adding sugar and water which in turn will bring out the herbal aromas of the liquor. This could be Le Feu. As the coconut milk and a creamy- slightly sour- lily joins the greenness- the lactones underlined by the sandalwood from the base, it adds an extra subtle change to the herbs and spices.
The sweetness keeps vying with the sourness for attention, with a fickle pink rose thrown back and forth between the two, undecided where she stands. And the wormwood gives a last smirk, before it sinks into a supposedly comfortable woody-amber base.
The perfume is instantly recognisably unique; it was different back then too, I had never smelled anything quite like it, and on the other hand it was clear that it tried to dig into that new genre; the Gourmand. Perhaps it had even tried to do what Angel did before, be unashamedly different and become a success for it. Le Feu misfired, and was discontinued.
I moved on, and bought and wore different things, but it wasn’t until I sniffed Douce Amere by Serge Lutens, that I fell truly in love with perfume again; Douce Amere being of course another great (albeit entirely different) wormwood creation for lover of the woody-oriental genre. I wasn’t looking for a substitute, but I was looking for a new perfume to intrigue and beguile me and ultimately, unknown to me at the time, it was the one that send me down the fragrant rabbit hole. But that’s a different story, and that will have to wait for another time…
*Created by Jacques Cavallier in 1998
Notes vary, but here from Fragrantica: The top notes are bergamot, coconut, rosewood and anise. The heart is composed of jasmine, rose, milk and caramel. The base notes are cedar, sandalwood, Guaiac wood, vanilla and musk
pics are mine